For Sengoku Gaming Extasy (SGE), this season’s APAC LAN Finals are going to be an absolutely unforgettable experience. Held outside of Sydney, Australia for the first time, the Rainbow Six Asia-Pacific (APAC) circus will travel to Tokyo, Japan instead -- home for Sengoku Gaming.
The team in its current form is fairly young -- at least as far as their APAC competition goes -- having this roster come together only after the 2018 Six Invitational. Then, Papilia had been loaned to eiNs until the Major, and he returned to SGE with Aroer1na and SuzuC in tow.
This changed roster had an immediate impact. Together with ReyCyil and YoshiNNGO the trio finished as the second seeds in Japan to qualify for their first APAC LAN event as a team. However, the Season 7 APAC Finals would be one to forget for the Japanese, as they were dismantled 10-0 by an unparalleled Fnatic.
After swapping out ReyCyil (who would eventually move to NORA-Rengo after the Six Major Paris) for WAYOUMAN, the squad attempted to make it to the Paris Major after they had made it to the APAC Qualifiers LAN. However, losses to Element Mystic (now mantisFPS) and Aerowolf meant that they would be left waiting for their next shot at an international LAN event for a while longer.
This season, things are looking up for them. Though they lost Papilia after the Paris Major to NORA-Rengo, they seem to have replaced him with an equally capable player in gatorada. Managing to finish in 2nd place in the regular Pro League season, they surprised the favourites of NORA-Rengo to secure the first seed for the Tokyo LAN event. What's more, with Fnatic seeded second this season, that result has set the Japanese up for revenge for the Season 7 Quarter Finals thrashing they had suffered.
It is not too remote a possibility that, this time, SGE will prevail -- they do have two players who featured at both a global Pro League LAN Final and a Major -- but they are sure to be the underdogs for this matchup. If they do manage to win, though, they will go on to face either mantisFPS or Xavier Esports.
We had a chat with team captain, Shuto “Aroer1na” Nasukawa about his team’s performance this season, and their expectations from the Tokyo event.
(The interview responses have been translated by Operative, and lightly edited for grammar.)
Sengoku Gaming, in its current form, essentially rose out of the ashes of the eiNs roster at the Six Invitational, with Papilia’s loan to them ending, and Aroer1na and SuzuC transferring over permanently. How has your team grown in strength since then?
After SuzuC and Aroer1na joined us from eiNs, we had an entirely new start. We also had a roster change, but after half a year as a team we have established a team philosophy, and seem to have reached a point of synergy between all of us.
Your team finished just 2 points behind NORA-Rengo in the regular season, only separated by one drawn match. How would you rate your regular season as a whole?
For the regular season, we are satisfied with our performance to a degree. Since the season is only a journey to the APAC Finals, we are not very worried about our current ranking.
After the Paris Major, your closest rivals NORA-Rengo chose your (now-former) player Papilia to complete their roster, leading you to promote gatorada to the main lineup. Would you say he is ready to fill Papilia’s shoes?
Yes, since Papilia and gatorada are similar players in terms of their roles, I think we were immediately able to get used to him. I want to continue to draw out the strengths of gatorada that were not in Papilia.
Your playoffs match against NORA-Rengo must have been very important to you guys, given that both ReyCyil and Papilia used to play for you. What does it mean to have beaten them 2-1 and taken the first seed?
Since all the teams advancing to the APAC Finals are so competitive, the result of the playoffs seeding match is not very important. All teams who performed at the Paris Major are in fact 2nd seeds.
You lost to Fnatic 10-0 at the Season 7 APAC LAN; the only 10-0 at an APAC LAN so far. You face them again this LAN, but this time you have the home support as compared to them in Sydney in Season 7. How are you feeling about this matchup?
The loss against Fnatic will be an unforgettable one for the rest of our lives. We want total revenge in front of our Japanese fans.
At this APAC LAN, four of your opponents will boast the experience of having attended international LAN events, three of them having added onto it recently at the Paris Major. What is your plan to close that gap in experience?
We don’t try to dwell on the the experience gap. Even for the Paris Major, no team that played in front of the fans was an APAC team, so I don't want to worry about something that cannot be resolved and end up overthinking about it.
This is going to be the first APAC Finals outside of Sydney, Australia, and it is going to be at home in Japan for you. How big is the competitive Siege community in Japan, and how do you feel about being able to play an APAC LAN in front of them?
In Japan, Siege’s popularity is tremendous. Domestic events are broadcasted to nearly 10,000 people, and at the LAN event that was held recently (Tokyo Game Show 2018), there were so many fans that came to enjoy the event that they barely fit into the venue. There is nothing more enjoyable than competing in front of the fans as players at offline events. We hope that at the APAC LAN both our fans and ourselves can enjoy the finals.
Is there anything you would like to share with your fans, and to the international audience that will read this?
The voices of our fans who are always supporting us is the best feeling for our players. As such we shall aim to win for everyone cheering with all their might, especially for those of you who come to the event, and we also thank those who cheer for us on on stream and on social media.
The Sengoku Gaming Extasy roster is:
Shuto “Aroer1na” Nasukawa (Captain)
Takuma “SuzuC” Nakajima
Yuto “WAYOUMAN” Kusaka
Yoshifumi “YoshiNNGO” Yukimori
Hideki “gatorada” Nishida
Shu “Okamoto” Okamoto (Analyst)
Catch all the APAC LAN action from Tokyo, Japan, on the 13th and 14th of October from 9:45 AM GMT+9 onwards at twitch.tv/Rainbow6.